812.52 Agrarian Commission/171

Memorandum by the Assistant Chief of the Division of the American Republics (Bursley)22

I inquired of the Mexican Ambassador as to his views of the advisability of our bringing Mr. Lawson to Washington and the Mexican Government ordering Mr. Serrano to come here in order that the Department could do all it could to expedite action by Mr. Lawson and that the Mexican Ambassador on his part would do what he could to expedite action by Mr. Serrano, all of this with a view to bringing to a close as soon as possible the work of the Agrarian Claims Commission on the claims now before them. The Ambassador said that he thought this would be all right, but that he expected there would be some opposition from General Hay. Therefore the Ambassador preferred to handle the matter directly with President Cárdenas. He said that the President was now at El Palmito, which was some 170 kilometers from a telegraph line, but that he would send a telegram at once asking the President to telephone him as soon as possible, which he thought probably would be on June 28. The Ambassador also said that Mexico would make the request for the next extension of time, which he thought should be either for fifteen days, or preferably, for thirty days.

The Ambassador said he understood the next million-dollar payment was already en route to his bankers in New York, and that he hoped to be able to make the payment of $1,000,000 on June 28,23 but that if this were not possible the payment would be made on Monday, July 1 (June 30, a Sunday, not being a business day).

The Ambassador also said that he would seek to think of some way to expedite settlement of the agrarian claims matter before June 28 when he would be in touch with President Cárdenas, but that in any event he would get in touch with President Cárdenas as soon as possible.

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I thanked the Ambassador for his statements, and also expressed briefly our appreciation of the arrangements he had facilitated for the establishment of a weekly Army plane service between Panama and the United States by way of Mexico.

While I was waiting to talk with the Ambassador three members of his staff emphasized to me how little danger they thought there was of any serious trouble at the time of the Mexican elections. They expressed considerable interest in our political conventions and Mexico’s hope that President Roosevelt would be nominated and reelected. They also were anxious (this includes the Ambassador) for information regarding our delegation to Habana.

  1. Addressed to the Chief of the Division of the American Republics and the Under Secretary of State.
  2. Payment was made by the Mexican Ambassador on June 29, 1940; see Department of State Bulletin, June 29, 1940, p. 706.